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The Lure of the Exotic: Gauguin in New York Collections

Ives, Colta, and Susan Alyson Stein, with Charlotte Hale and Marjorie Shelley (2002)

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Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History (6)
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The Lure of the Exotic: Gauguin in New York Collections

This major exhibition marks the first occasion in more than forty years that Paul Gauguin (French, 1848–1903) has been the subject of a major monographic show in New York City, and the first time that the Metropolitan Museum has displayed its entire collection of the artist's work. Approximately 120 works drawn from New York public and private collections—including more than sixty from the Met's own holdings—are on view in the exhibition comprising paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints. The exhibition features works from every important stage of the artist's career and from each of his outposts in Brittany, Provence, Martinique, Tahiti, and the Marquesas Islands.

The Metropolitan Museum acquired its first Gauguin in 1921, and in the intervening years his work reached an ever-widening public audience through the concerted efforts of prominent New Yorkers and local institutions. Thanks to pioneering acquisitions and the generosity of donors, the Metropolitan and other museums in the state—from the Museum of Modern Art in New York City to the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo—have afforded generations of viewers a vivid sense of Gauguin's genius. Shown together, these purchases, gifts, and bequests to public museums, combined with the holdings of discerning private collectors, many of which have hitherto never been on public view, provide a rich overview of Gauguin's fascinating career and a telling account of the reception of his works on this side of the Atlantic.